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Lean Manufacturing and Reducing Waste

Mar 11

Written by: 3/11/2014 12:06 PM  RssIcon

Lean Manufacturing and Reducing Waste

Are you worried that your workshop or production line is producing excess waste?

Do you even know how much waste or scrap you are producing?

Do you have any idea how much this waste costs you - every week, month or even year?

Chances are that waste and scrap product cost you a considerable amount each and every year. This cost is then passed onto your customers, which can result in your organization being less competitive and losing market share.

How can you reduce your waste, same money while doing it, gain more customers and then keep them? For many organizations, applying Lean Manufacturing concepts might be the best way.

Or course these concepts don't just apply to manufacturing - they can apply to any process where value is added for both external or internal customers, no matter what you are processing: data, documents, knowledge or even services

Lean Manufacturing and Reducing Waste

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean Manufacturing (and its close cousin Lean Six Sigma) is a management and manufacturing methodology that helps businesses improve their processes. It involves finding areas in your business where you are doing well (efficiencies), as well as identifying areas where you are engaging in wasteful processes. Ideally every step in the production process should involve added value - for you as well as the end consumer. Unfortunately for most businesses - many processes do not.

What Is Waste?

Waste is anything within the production process that does not add additional value to the final product. In order to stay lean, organisations should measure eight key categories of waste in the production of their products (or service, for service industries) including:

  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Inventory (and works in progress)
  • Transportation
  • Overprocessing
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Workforce

Every one of these eight categories of waste increases the cost of doing business by creating inefficiencies and losing you money.

Understanding the Lean Manufacturing Process

Lean manufacturing takes the approach that it is not only major changes that increase the efficiency of organizations and reduce wastage, but lots of small, subtle changes to every aspect of the production line.

Lean Manufacturing and Reducing Waste

The Lean Manufacturing process has three key stages: Identifying Waste (Value Stream Mapping), finding the cause of the waste (Root Cause Analysis), fixing the problem and then repeating the entire process(Continuous Improvement). By using these three steps organizations will be able to gain a clear understanding of how much waste and where it is in the production process, why it exists and what causes it, and finally how to fix or reduce it.

Organizations using Lean Manufacturing will usually then go on to use various business process improvement tools and methods to further focus on reducing waste and improving efficiencies. These tools and methods include: Just In Time Manufacturing (Reducing batch size and holding the minimum amount of inventory required), Kanban (Developing cues and signals when you need to replace, order or locate to reduce overproduction), Zero Defects (Focusing on creating a mentality where whenever poor quality is found, the problem is fixed and prevented from happening again) and 5S (a system that rearranges a production line for increases in cleanliness and efficiency).

But how do you identify all this waste?

You would think that waste would be easy to identify if it was going on all around - unfortunately its not always that easy. While major aspects of waste can often be easily spotted and fixed, it is very easy for significant amounts of smaller waste to go by unnoticed without consistent and clear data from your manufacturing processes. You can start by logging data from your manufacturing operations in order to analyze it for wastage later. Find out exactly where you are generating the most scrap or waste and where the worst bottlenecks are in the production process.

Savance Datamiser Provides The Soution

Services such as Savance Datamiser are wholly automated, turnkey solutions that can plug right into your production line. Once they are installed you will receive real time manufacturing data collection directly from the shop floor. Discover straight away if you are manufacturing too much at the wrong time, if transportation down the line is inefficient, or if staff and machinery motions are inefficient. Every single positive change, no matter how small, counts on the road to continuous improvement.

Savance Datamizer is a data logging software system that your organization can use with any machine, line or PLC. Use information acquired from Savance Datamizer to quickly and accurately identify problems in your manufacturing line that will allow you to use Lean Manufacturing strategies to monitor and refine improvements to your processes.

Contact us now to discuss how Savance Datamiser can provide you with real time manufacturing quality metrics that you can use straight away. Save your organisation both time and money by reducing scrap and increasing production line efficiency.